Investigating the role of glycosylation in multiple myeloma

Published on May 21, 2013

All cells in the body are heavily coated with sugars, a process known as glycosylation. Changes in cellular glycosylation are a recognized feature of many cancers, such changes often being associated with more aggressive behavior and a tendency to spread or metastasize to distant sites.

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Until recently little was known of the role of glycosylation in the progression of the blood cancer multiple myeloma. Our work reveals that glycosylation-related genes are abnormally expressed in multiple myeloma. In particular, we have found that overexpression of an important glycosylation gene called ST3GAL6 is associated with more aggressive disease and poor prognosis in patients with multiple myeloma. We believe that ST3GAL6 may be a new biomarker of progression as well as a potential therapeutic target.

Michael O'Dwyer | National University of Ireland, Galway

Michael O’Dwyer is Professor of Haematology at the National University of Ireland, Galway and recipient of a Clinician Scientist Award from the Irish Health Research Board (HRB). His research focuses on the role of glycosylation in multiple myeloma with an emphasis on identifying potential new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for translation into clinical practice.

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